Amazon has filed suit against two influencers and several online businesses over an alleged counterfeiting scheme of luxury items across Instagram and Amazon Marketplace

Amazon has a pretty strict policy against counterfeit products. They have highly developed tools that ensure that none of the listings on their Marketplace are selling counterfeit products. But recently, Amazon has filed suit against two influencers, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci, some other co-defendants, and several online businesses that have been concocting a fraudulent scheme in the guise of a sophisticated campaign of false advertising of luxury items to evade Amazon’s counterfeit detection tools.

Amazon has filed a complaint in federal court in Washington state against these influencers who advertised counterfeit products on their Instagram page by selling them under dummy listings to the Marketplace of Amazon through some hidden links.

One of these influencers, Kelly Fitzpatrick operated the @styleeandgrace account on Instagram, which has now become defunct. Investigators bought 12 different luxury products through Kelly’s Instagram account. Kelly usually advertises counterfeit products on her Instagram page, and then direct the followers to an Amazon link for the purchase. But this is a fraud link, of course, and the real Amazon listing would display a different item from the one that was advertised on Kelly’s page. Now, this all looked very legitimate, but in reality, a range of Chinese companies was behind Kelly. They were the ones who would actually make and ship these counterfeit products, and Kelly and other influencers were just a face front who would receive a cut through Amazon’s affiliate program. Anyway, now Kelly has been banned from this program too. She tried to work through various other accounts, but Amazon’s ban did not lift.
Now, Amazon is not the one to blame here because it has tools that scan and detect counterfeit products on its own platform. But here, it was unaware of the Instagram accounts that were posting offers for counterfeit products, so Amazon did not have any reason to flag those listings in the first place.

Cristina Posa, the associate general counsel and director of Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit said in a statement that these defendants were brazenly promoting counterfeit products on social media and undermined the genuine work of all the other legitimate influencers. According to her, this case is an example of how unmonitored platforms can wreak havoc, and this incident also teaches that cross-industry collaboration is absolutely necessary to fight against the counterfeiters.

There are not going to be any criminal charges associated with the claim. The defendants will only face monetary damages and permanent bans from various platforms of Amazon.

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